First Chapter Fridays: Sept. 11 Selections

Here are two more excellent books for remembering 9/11. Tomorrow is September 11, and to remember that day I plan to read from two important books on the subject. I also did this last Friday with two other books: Vigilance by Ray Kelly and 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive InsideContinue reading “First Chapter Fridays: Sept. 11 Selections”

Six writing prompts for Article of the Week essays

Offer students more ways to respond If you’re a fan of Article of the Week (AOW) assignments and student choice, then this post is for you. Side note: If you’re unfamiliar with the AOW assignment, scroll to the bottom first for a quick explanation and here’s a link to my post about how I useContinue reading “Six writing prompts for Article of the Week essays”

When students ask, “Why do we read such depressing stuff?!”

Especially in times like these??? My students have told me the following list of nonfiction books is depressing. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank Flesh and Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass 102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn Night by Elie WieselContinue reading “When students ask, “Why do we read such depressing stuff?!””

The Ten Percent Summary

Jazz up the typical summary assignment Ever get tired of having kids write summaries? If you’re like me, it’s easy to become tired of summary writing. However, I also know it’s a skill that students need to practice from time to time. Summary writing helps students comprehend a text, prioritize its ideas, and convey theContinue reading “The Ten Percent Summary”

Frederick Douglass Unit Plan Resources

These Douglass resources and handouts support the unit plan in my previous post Two days ago, I posted a unit plan for The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself. In that post, you’ll find a PDF of the unit for you to review, tweak, adjust, present or otherwise use in yourContinue reading “Frederick Douglass Unit Plan Resources”

Frederick Douglass Unit Plan

10 reasons to teach Frederick Douglass plus a link to my unit plan PDF As I promised last week in my post about Frederick Douglass graphic essays, I’m providing a link at the bottom of this post to a PDF of my unit of instruction for The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. AlthoughContinue reading “Frederick Douglass Unit Plan”

White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?

Send me your contemporary social justice book suggestions I ordered these books for fall 2020 because I’m focusing on the power of literature to effect social change. Of course, recent events in response to the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd make me wonder if there are more topical books I should have ordered insteadContinue reading “White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?”

How to get middle schoolers to write 16-page essays

Try “The 8th-Grade Human Rights Dissertation” Want to be impressed by your middle school ELA students? Want to see them rise to the writing occasion? Try this extended writing assignment that I call the 8th-Grade Human Rights Dissertation. Sidenote: Obviously, this is not an assignment for distance learning. It’s designed for a normal full-time scheduleContinue reading “How to get middle schoolers to write 16-page essays”

Five articles to pair with The Old Man and the Sea

These articles are intended to round out the ideas presented by the novella This winter, my junior English students have just finished reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and are beginning to develop their cumulative essays on the novella. To prepare for that, and to build more background knowledge about theContinue reading “Five articles to pair with The Old Man and the Sea”

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: A nonfiction contender for 2020-21

Thinking ahead to new class sets for next year Nonfiction is definitely my thing. Yes, I love novels and short stories, but nonfiction really captivates me. And I guess it’s because I truly believe that life is stranger than fiction. As a result, I’m starting to consider which nonfiction books I’d like to requisition forContinue reading “Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: A nonfiction contender for 2020-21”